Did you ever have a really bad public speaking experience? For example,
- Did you ever forget what you wanted to say?
- Did you ever get lost, or stuck in traffic en route, and arrive too late?
- Did you ever have trouble speaking because you were so nervous?
- Did the equipment ever stop working and leave you in the lurch?
- Did the audience ever ask questions you couldn’t answer?
- Did you ever lose a speech contest?
- Did you ever get negative feedback?
- Did you ever get laughed at?
- Did you ever miss out on a sale or business opportunity or contract or job because of a bad presentation?
- Did you ever think that you were not cut out to be a public speaker?
If you answered “Yes” to any of the above, congratulations. You’re in good company.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Public speaking is a risk.
Every time we stand up in front of others, we are taking a risk. Things can, and do, go wrong. We can get hurt in the process. Sometimes a little, sometimes more than a little. It’s part of the deal; it’s part of the process; it’s part of the price of admission.
If you’ve never had a bad public speaking experience, chances are you haven’t done much public speaking. If you want to improve, there is only one real way and that is to speak. And if you speak, you will certainly have setbacks. You can’t avoid them forever.
However, the critical part is what you do after the setback. Watch the video again and imagine what a shame it would have been if the talented people who are featured had given up in the face of their own setbacks.
Public speaking is a risk. Just like life. But if you persevere, the rewards are tremendous.